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Burning Man offers a radically different art-making experience to all participants. Unlike the more familiar environment of galleries and museums, our world makes art wide open and accessible, prone to extremes in temperature and weather, and without vigilant oversight by guards (unless participants in costume decide to stage a little guerilla theater). We offer the participant, who may never have made an art object, the chance to create an installation with a guaranteed audience of thousands, many of whom will touch, climb or lie upon, photograph, or help construct the work. Feedback is virtually assured.

The Black Rock City Art Department works to assist our artists as best we can. Our role includes advising artists on content and construction, determining placement and mapping the installations, and providing on-site assistance. Creating art in the desert environment is an extremely challenging project, and we aim to make the artist's playa experience a little easier.

Unfortunately, theft and vandalism were problems for art at Burning Man in 2002. Building materials were taken from Portland's Aural Reef during set-up, and during the course of the event, many of the pods from Tim Black's L2K Ring were stolen. Jeremy Lutes created a beautiful installation, The Lily Pond, that portrayed a water garden containing light-sensitive lily pads, dragonflies, and fish. This lovely piece was targeted on Sunday night during the Temple of Joy burn when thieves removed seven of the fiber-optic dragonflies, each of which took 12 hours to construct. Our community was shocked by this heartless act of theft, and this year we will undertake a massive PR campaign to educate and warn our community. Volunteers have come forward to help guard installations during peak times. In these and other ways, the Art Department will work with artists to help prevent such crimes.

Submitted by,
LadyBee, Larry Harvey and Crimson Rose

Click here to read the 2001 Art report.